Working from home does have its perks. For starters, you have more time in the morning for your wellness routine, rather than your usual up-and-rush commute, you can give your skin a little make-up free break and go all-natural, and best of all, you can spend all day in your pj’s, or at the very least go business up top and pj’s on the bottom. For some though it can also come with its pitfalls, as over-snacking and grazing all day, become all too tempting.
Dietitian and Nutritionist Georgia Houston, from GH Nutrition, shares her five tips to break the chair-to-fridge cycle and some healthy snacks to keep you feeling satisfied. Here’s how.
It is often how we start the day that can impact our eating choices later on. This is why putting together a nutritious breakfast is an incredibly important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and eating habits.
To help keep you feeling fuller for longer, ensure your breakfast contains a mix of lean protein, slow-releasing carbohydrate, healthy fats and fruit or vegetables. If we miss one of these core macronutrients, at any main meal throughout the day, we are more likely to feel less satisfied and want to reach for the pantry or fridge half an hour later.
See below for some examples:
Eggs on toast
Protein: Free-range eggs
Slow-releasing carbohydrate: Wholegrain toast
Healthy fat: Avocado
Vegetables: Grilled tomatoes or mushrooms
Protein: Milk and natural yoghurt
Slow-releasing carbohydrate: Rolled oats
Healthy fat: Nut butter
Fruit/Vegetables: Spinach leaves and berries
Slow-releasing carbohydrate: Rolled oats
Healthy fat: Sprinkle of nuts and seeds, including chia seeds
Fruit: Seasonal fruit to top i.e. cooked prunes
How often to eat is different for everyone and while I advocate for intuitive eating (eating what you feel like, when you are hungry), for those that have a complicated relationship with food (or find themselves constantly at the fridge) this is like asking you to run before you can walk. Therefore, I suggest structuring your day to include three mains meals, two snacks and dessert (to keep you sane), see below:
GH Nutrition approved healthy and balanced day of eating:
7am: Wake-up + big glass of water.
7:15-8am: Movement i.e. walk outdoors, run or yoga.
8:30am: Nourishing and balanced breakfast.
10:30am: Morning tea i.e. yoghurt bowl (see recipe)
1pm: Lunchtime. Try to eat away from your desk and out in the sunshine.
4pm: Afternoon tea i.e. a slice of GH Nutrition healthy banana bread (see recipe).
5:00pm: Finish work for the day, emails off.
7pm: Dinner time, no screens.
8:30pm: Dessert i.e. what you feel like, in a moderated amount. Eat slowly, mindfully and without guilt.
10pm: Lights out.
By scheduling in your meal and snacks, and eating every two-to-three hours, you are more likely to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. When we go for long breaks between eating, or we aren’t eating enough, our blood sugar levels drop, leaving us with little energy, concentration and those “I will eat anything and everything” hangry vibes. This is often the same time that you may feel more tempted to make poorer food choices or overeat, as all your body craves is getting that sugary, energy lifting fix.
Organisation is the key to healthy eating. A lack of time can often lead to a lack of balance in your diet.
Use this quieter time during isolation to make some minor tweaks to your daily routine. For example, I encourage all my clients to set aside one hour on the weekend to go to the markets, shops or order online and re-stock their fridge and pantry with healthy foods for the week ahead. I then ask clients to spend ten minutes each night prepping their lunchbox for the next day. These tasks can all be maintained, even while working from home.
When picking out your meals and snacks, ensure your main meals have all four of the macronutrients (i.e. a source of lean protein, slow-releasing carbohydrate, healthy fat and veggies/fruit) and for snacks, aim for at least two.
Ideas for healthy, balanced snacks include:
~ Quality natural yoghurt (protein) with berries (fruit) or a sprinkle of nuts and seeds (healthy fat/protein)
~ Apple (fruit) with peanut butter (healthy fat/protein)
~ Wholegrain crackers (slow-releasing carbohydrate) with cheese (protein) and tomato (veggies)
~ DIY trail mix i.e. nuts and seeds (healthy fat/protein), dried fruit (fruit), choc nibs
~ Veggie sticks (veggies) with hummus (healthy fat/protein)
~ 2-3 bliss balls (healthy fats and protein) – click here to try my Salted Caramel and Chocolate Hazelnut Bliss Balls.
We want healthy eating to be a sustainable, lifestyle change, so start small and focus on one change at a time. For example, this could be making sure you have healthy snacks ready in the fridge i.e. purchase some fruit and pre-portioned natural yoghurt tubs. Be kind to yourself and keep it simple to start. Planning ahead is a great way to keep on track and to remind yourself that you don’t have to eat all the food right now. You have more coming in two-to-three hours.
Some healthy recipe ideas for you:
Blueberry, lemon & yoghurt muffins
Healthy Banana Bread
Natural sweet & savoury crackers
How many times have you started the day with good intentions to not eat the chocolate bar? To then find yourself eating a handful of nuts, tub of yoghurt, piece of fruit, packet of crackers, anything and everything, to then finally give in and have the chocolate bar at the end.
What I like to do with my clients, who especially struggle with binge eating, is to regularly schedule in their favourite foods. I ask them to pick a reasonable amount (to them) and a reasonable time (to them). For example, this might look like one block of chocolate, instead of two, and at morning tea time, instead of before breakfast.
What we are doing here is allowing you to still enjoy your favourite foods, while maintaining some form of control, so that you don’t feel guilty later on. Slowly, we then work on reducing the amount.
If we tell ourselves, we will never eat that food again, our bodies tend to have a self-sabotage mechanism, where all we can do is focus and obsess on those foods until they are eaten.
From now, I want you to schedule in your favourite food. Eat it slowly and mindfully and remember, more is coming tomorrow, you don’t have to eat it all right now.
Sleep and diet can be a vicious cycle, if not managed properly.
How many times have you stayed up late at night because you had to watch the next episode, to then hit snooze on your alarm, miss the gym, grab that muffin from the café at work because you’re running late….and you know how the rest of the day pans out.
While you may blame your lack of willpower for the above, did you know that a lack of sleep actually causes hormonal changes in your body to crave unhealthy foods?
When we are sleep-deprived, two hormones that regulate hunger, ghrelin (makes us feel hungry) and leptin (makes us feel full), are altered. After a bad night’s sleep, the level of ghrelin in our body spikes, while the level of leptin falls, leading to an increase in hunger and cravings for quick-energy foods i.e. often foods that are high in kilojoules but low in nutrients - chips, lollies, chocolate.
To manage your weight and hunger, aim to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, with an aim of eight hours shut-eye each night.
Georgia specialises in disordered eating and women’s health. If you feel like you need extra support, contact Georgia for a one-on-one dietetic consult or download her eBook, with over 45 healthy and delicious recipes (use code CANBERRACENTRE for a discount, RRP $29.99, your price $24.99).